New York City community leaders call out mayor after he condemned a large gathering and singled out Jewish residents
“Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic,” de Blasio tweeted. “When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” de Blasio said in another tweet. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
Anti Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to the mayor, accusing him of generalizing the entire Jewish community when only a small segment broke the rules. The few who don’t social distance should be called out but generalizing against the whole population is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews. This erodes the very unity our city needs now more than ever,” Greenblatt tweeted.
New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger echoed similar concerns, saying it was unacceptable of the mayor to condemn an entire community after the Williamsburg funeral incident.
“Mr. Mayor, your words are unacceptable. To condemn our entire community over one group of people is something you would not do to any other ethnic group, and I know you long enough to know that you know this,” Yeger, who is Jewish, tweeted.
De Blasio on Wednesday said his tweets reflected his frustration at the moment.
“People’s lives were in danger before my eyes, and I was not going to tolerate it,” he told reporters. “I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people a feeling of being treated the wrong way, that was not my intention. It was said with love, but it was tough love it was anger and frustration.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the Brooklyn gathering put police officers and others in danger.
“We cannot have people unnecessarily being exposed to a disease that is having catastrophic effects on our membership and really New Yorkers as a whole,” he said at a news conference.
Religious events and funerals remain a challenge, NYPD has said
CNN has reached out to several Jewish organizations in Williamsburg to get more information about the funeral and for comment on de Blasio’s remarks.
Previously, the NYPD has said that some officers have encountered challenges at religious events and funerals, noting efforts “were geared toward maintaining the dignity of those events while insisting on dispersal of groups to ensure social distancing.”
## ## The mayor also tweeted about difficulties surrounding funerals.
“We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn,” the mayor wrote. “But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning. We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance.”